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Stratosphere T 

Stratosphere 

YDS: 5.10c/d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b C1+

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, 5 pitches, 300', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10c/d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b C1+ [details]
FA: James Garrett, Michael Franklin, and Seth Shaw, 1986
Page Views: 1,599
Submitted By: Christian "crisco" Burrell on Oct 5, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: Stratosphere. Each belay is marked. The first bela...

Description 

LOTS OF FUN!!!

P1 Pretty mello climbing (past a pretty, new bolt) to a smack-you-in-the-face slab. I found the left traverse after turning the roof a bit nerve-wracking. It made me wonder why the newer bolt was placed lower down and not right there. Nice bolted belay. I had a belay seat which made all the belays very nice.

P2 Short left-facing and leaning corner. The crux seems like just getting started. Way fun and VERY free-able. Belay at some old pins that you can back up with small (i.e., tiny) cams.

P3 This is where the good stuff begins! Easy thin nuts get you warmed up for the rad arch feature. This was only really made difficult by my not bringing enough of the right piece. The crack widens about halfway but make sure you bring several SMALL cams. I had one 000 C3. If I had 2 more, this part would've been a breeze!

The bolt ladder is cake as the bolts are only about 3-4 feet apart. Some of these bolts could REALLY use replacing. The right shuffle with a hook is very cool. You can top step and skip the last fixed mank. Three-bolt hanging belay (bring your seat). The right most bolt is nice brand new one (why didn't someone replace a few others?), the others are the old button heads.

P4 Another good one. More easy bolt ladder work to a great traverse. The crack has a few fixed pins, but reaching the first one can be tough. We used a red C4 in a flare that worked great. I originally used hooks in the little holes between pins but Tristan was able to get small C3's into 'em just fine. Those C3's are the greatest small cams ever!

The finish to this pitch is a somewhat committing 5.8 slab. Possible to finish using aid but be ready to garden a bit in a dirt-filled crack. Use a big tree to belay. From here it is possible to rap all the way to the ground with doubled 70 meter ropes in one rap (60m would be really close, I think).

P5 We skipped this one this time but I did it years ago. There is a new bolt (that I don't remember being there before) at the start of the right traverse. I remember this last bit to be a bit cruddy and not really anything I wanted to do again, but J.G. thinks it is pretty good. I guess it has been bolted up now. The only thing that would make me do it again is the big rap. You end up going right over the lip of the HUGE roof on the right. You get way out from the wall! One more rap from a big tree puts you back on the ground.

This is a great mini adventure route that every aid wanna-be should do. Just don't bring too much gear!

Complete kudo's to the guys to put this route together! Great job!

Protection 

  • C3's: At least one set (two sets would be better—C'mon get em! So worth it!).
  • C4's: One set to yellow (we used the yellow twice).
  • Nuts: Only small sizes (5 or so is all you need).
  • Hooks: One skyhook is required.
  • Biners: Bring about 20 free biners or draws.

Other than your personal aid stuff, that is all you really need.


Photos of Stratosphere Slideshow Add Photo
Me at start of the actual "hook" travers...
Me at start of the actual "hook" travers...
Cluster!!! The belay tree at the top of pitch 4.
BETA PHOTO: Cluster!!! The belay tree at the top of pitch 4.
Christian Burrell just past the crux on the first ...
Christian Burrell just past the crux on the first ...
Christian Burrell on the beautiful 3rd pitch of St...
Christian Burrell on the beautiful 3rd pitch of St...
The hanging belay at the top of pitch 3. Two older...
BETA PHOTO: The hanging belay at the top of pitch 3. Two older...
The belay at the bottom of pitch 3. The two pitons...
BETA PHOTO: The belay at the bottom of pitch 3. The two pitons...
Christian Burrell rappelling from the tree at the ...
Christian Burrell rappelling from the tree at the ...

Comments on Stratosphere Add Comment
Show which comments
By tenesmus
Oct 6, 2006

Watch yourself starting that second pitch. If one of those blocks came off it'd be devastating for you and your belayer.
By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Jul 1, 2007
rating: 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b C1-2

LOTS OF FUN!!!
Pitch 1) Pretty mello climbing (past a pretty new bolt) to a smack you in the face slab. I found the left traverse after turning the roof a bit nerve racking. It made me wonder, why the newer bolt was placed lower down and not right there. Nice bolted belay. I had a belay seat which made all the belays very nice.

Pitch 2) Short left facing and leaning corner. The crux seems like just getting started. Way fun and VERY free-able. Belay at some old pins that you can back up with small (re: tiny) cams.

Pich 3)This is where the good stuff begins! easy thin nuts get you warmed up for the rad arch feature. This was only really made difficult by my not bringing enough of the right piece. The crack widens about halfway but make sure you bring several SMALL cams. I had one 000 C-3. If I had 2 more, this part would've been a breeze! The bolt ladder is cake as the bolts are only about 3-4 feet apart. Some of these bolts could REALLY use replacing. The right shuffle with a hook is very cool. You can top step and skip the last fixed mank. 3 bolt hanging belay (bring your seat). The right most bolt is nice brand new one (why didn't someone replace a few others?), the others are the old button heads.

Pitch 4)Another good one. More easy bolt ladder work to a great traverse. The crack has a few fixed pins, but reaching the first one can be tough. We used a red C-4 in a flare that worked great. I originally used hooks in the little holes between pins but Tristan was able to get smal C-3's into em just fine. Those C-3's are the greatest smal cams ever! The finish to this pitch is a somewhat commiting 5.8 slab. Possible to finish using aid but be ready to garden a bit in a dirt filled crack. Use a big Tree to belay. From here it is possible to rap all the way to the ground with doubled 70 meter ropes (60 m would be really close think) in one rap.

Pitch 5) We skipped this one this time but I did it years ago. There is a new bolt, that I don't remember being there before, at the start of the right traverse. I remember this last bit to be a bit cruddy and not really anything I wanted to do again. The only thing that would make me do it again is the big rap. You end up going right over the lip of the HUGE roof on the right. You get way out from the wall! One more rap from a big tree puts you back on the ground.

This is a great mini adventure route that every aid wanna-be should do. Just don't bring too much gear!
Gear:
C-3's:at least one set(2 would be better)(common get em! So worth it!)
C-4's one set to yellow (we used the yellow twice)
Nuts: only small sizes (5 or so is all you need)
Hooks: one skyhook is required
Biners: bring about 20 free's or draws
Other than your personal aid stuff, that is all you really need.

Complete kudo's to the guys to put this route together! Great job!
By Tristan Higbee
From: Cambodia
Sep 28, 2008

Super fun route. We rappelled off after the 4th pitch because we pretty much just came for the aid climbing, we were tired, and crisco, who had done the route before, had said that the pitch wasn't that great. After reading the route description above, though, I kind of wish we had finished the sucker off!

We did the "hook" traverse on pitch 4 without using any hooks. In places where hooking would normally have been necessary, I was able to get in some pretty bomber 000 C3's. We just had one and I backcleaned it once, and it would have been nice to have placed it again. Also, I was feeling like a pansy at the end of the pitch, so I aided the 5.8 instead of freeing it. I used small nuts. I'd give it P2+ on the pansy rating system.

In fact, we did only one hook move on the whole climb. It was on the 3rd pitch after the bolt ladder ended.

Crisco says in his above description that you can rap from the end of this pitch to the ground with two 70m ropes, and that 60m ropes might be too short. Well, one of the ropes (mine) that we used today to get off was a 60m. So I think double 60s would work fine. We added some of our own webbing (a green sling and a blue sling) and a biner and quicklink to the rat's nest of webbing at the tree.

Also, another reason we did the route was to see if it could be freed. The third pitch roof/dihedral crack thing would probably go at hard .11 or easy .12. It'd be awesome! Above that, though, the bolt ladders looked to be pretty tough. The 4th pitch traverse looked like it could be freed, too. Maybe 5.11? I actually didn't look too closely at it... I was preoccupied with actually climbing the thing... It'd be a sweet free lead, though!
By James Garrett
Sep 28, 2008

Thanks for the photos Tristan...It just occurred to me....everyone I was ever with on this route is now gone. All really dynamic guys I miss quite a bit. Michael died via an auto accident involving an underage drunk driver, Seth died from ice fall in Alaska, and I repeated the climb with Dave Anderson in the early 90s...he died after being involved in an avalanche accident. Michael and I had climbed the first 4 together and he had had enough of the approach and reclimbing each time to our high point from the ground...Seth joined me for the 5th and final pitch. Interestingly, during the ascent with Dave, we retrobolted the very run out bold lead that Seth had accomplished on the FA of the 5th pitch (5.9-5.10a??). We also placed the occasional 3/8" bolts on the route to back up or replace the original 1/4"ers (I had bought a more efficient drill in the meantime). I remember leading the 5th pitch for the first time and thinking it was so good, it deserved better protection. Dave encouraged me, too I remember...and it was his favorite pitch on the climb, as it was for me. I always expected someone to try to free this thing earlier on, but I don't think anyone has given it a serious effort. The 3rd pitch just looks so cool....it has to be freed by someone!
Thanks again....looks like someone cleaned up the tat on the Pitch #3 belay!!
I encourage someone to write up a more comprehensive and up to date pitch by pitch description for this site. Thanks again.
By Perin Blanchard
Administrator
From: Orem, UT
Sep 29, 2008

I assigned this route to criscokid (was Orphaned) and copied his comment text into the description body.
By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Oct 8, 2008
rating: 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b C1-2

Tristan: I thought that rope was 65 m. My bad...
By Adam Johnson
From: Park City, UT
Sep 6, 2010

Super fun. All good gear and a fun mix of aid and free climbing. The 2nd to last pitch the tree is dead!!! Can make an anchor a little below from it. Also bring some new slings for the final rap. Very worn out and an exciting repel with the hag existing ones. Other than that a fun climb.
By Ben Folsom
Sep 28, 2010

I had a look at trying to free this a few different times. Last time I was up there I figured it would never happen for me. The third pitch "roof/dihedral crack thing" has been freed, probably by a few parties. The bolt ladders seem disappointingly blank.
By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Sep 30, 2010
rating: 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b C1-2

Ben said: The bolt ladders seem disappointingly blank.

Yeah, last time we went up, we searched hard for anything around the bolt ladders. If they go as the line is, it would be REALLY hard. Seems like an all free line would have to wander around a lot; if even that is possible.
Does anyone know what the line on the left side of the wall headed up to the enormous roof is?